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December, 2014

YEAR-END MESSAGE

Recently I was thinking about my time at Seton Hall, and more specifically, the past year and all the good things that are occurring within athletics. The excitement that I felt made me want to further reflect on the year with all of you and share all the wonderful things that are happening that make Seton Hall so special.

On campus, we made significant strides in delivering an elite student-athlete experience. Our new locker rooms that we are providing for each varsity team took shape this year, as did our new training center/varsity weight room and video room, and we eagerly await their completion in early 2015. We began our new partnership with Under Armour, and partnering with the global leader in sports performance is another avenue in which we are servicing our student-athletes and providing them the resources to succeed.

In the classroom, our student-athletes continue to show limitless potential. Five of our programs, including baseball, women's golf, softball, women's tennis and volleyball, earned NCAA Public Recognition awards for sporting multi-year APRs in the top 10 percent of their respective sports. Our student-athletes as a whole delivered a 3.29 GPA during the Spring 2014 semester, the highest in school history. I could not be more proud of our student-athletes' efforts because they consistently embody the true spirit of putting "student" in front of "athlete."

In the community, our student-athletes are always a presence as they are committed to the Seton Hall University mission. This fall semester alone our student-athletes and our staff have contributed over 2,400 hours of service back to local New Jersey communities. I am proud of the leadership our student-athletes display each and every day, and the programs that they participate in further enrich their lives and prepare them for life after college.

On the fields of play, 2014 was one of the most successful years in recent memory. Men's & women's diving swept the BIG EAST Championships behind Outstanding Divers of the Year Ben Mitchell and Gabby Signorelli, and on the swimming side, Kerrie Kolackovsky was named BIG EAST Co-Most Outstanding Swimmer. In Tony Bozzella's first year as women's basketball head coach, the Pirates won 20 games and advanced to the WNIT Sweet Sixteen in the program's first appearance in the event since 2007. The women's golf team won its first-ever BIG EAST Championship, and head coach Sara Doell was named conference Coach of the Year. Baseball won 39 games, finished second in the BIG EAST and earned a slew of postseason honors as Josh Prevost was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and D.J. Ruhlman earned Co-Player of the Year honors. Our volleyball team, led by BIG EAST Coach of the Year Allison Yaeger and Libero of the Year Tessa Fournier, finished as the conference runner-up and won a team-record 15 BIG EAST games en route to the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance.

Most recently, our basketball teams have gotten off to hot starts and will look to continue their upward trajectory in 2015. Our men's team won the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas in November and then captured the Garden State Hardwood Classic and its inaugural trophy, beating Rutgers just a few short weeks ago. Our women's team has won nine of its first 10 games, including impressive victories over Penn State, Creighton and Illinois.

Of course, none of our achievements would be possible without the unwavering support of Pirate Blue's generous donors. Those who provide financial support are truly the backbone of our success. We simply cannot function at a BIG EAST and national level without you, and because of your generosity, our student-athletes have the resources needed to challenge for greatness.

So it is now more than ever, during a time of the year of reflection and humility that I look at the many accomplishments we've achieved and excitedly welcome the many successes in store for the future. I have never been so confident in saying that it's a good time to be a Pirate.